The global effort of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission will likely speed up with the entry into force of the Paris Agreement (PA) which was adopted at Paris on 12 December 2015. The calls of the UN Secretary General on 22 April for signature and on 21 September for ratification of the Paris Agreement encouraged Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for early ratification of the Paris Agreement. The momentum speeded up with the ratification of the US and China during G-20 meeting last month. As of 1 October 2016, PA signatories totals to 191 countries and 61 Parties to the UNFCCC have deposited their instrument of ratification to the UN Secretary-General, the depository of the Agreement. It totals for 47.79 percent of the total GHGs emissions. 'This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession” (Article 21). It requires 'double triggers' for entry into force. One 'trigger' is met, that is, over 55 countries have ratified it.
On 30 September, EU ministers approved the ratification of this Agreement. This decision brings the Paris Agreement very close to entering into force, that is, next 'trigger' will be met soon. India has declared to ratify on 2 October. It is most likely that Paris Agreement will enter into force on the day the COP 22 starts at Marrakech on 7 November 2016. It is almost 4 years early than what was decided in Durban in 2011. The Durban Decision was to adopt the protocol or another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force at COP 21 that comes into 'effect and be implemented from 2020'. This exemplifies the global commitment and unity to address climate change impacts. It clearly signals to work together for 'success'. Implementation of the Paris Agreement would be a turning point and start of a new area of 'climate cooperation'.
Mitigation and adaptation are well embedded in the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. Nepal is greatly affected by the adverse impact of climate change but its contribution to total GHGs emission is only 0.027 percent. As a Party to the UNFCCC, Nepal has joined the international community by signing the PA on 22 April and is in process for its ratification.
Nepal needs to move towards low carbon emission development pathway. She should focus on adaptation as the 'left option' to enhance capacity of the climate vulnerable to adapt and build resilience to climate change impacts. During the last 5 years, Nepal has been the 'centre of attraction' in advancing adaptation options. The 2010 NAPA led to the implementation of most urgent, immediate and prioritised adaptation options through LAPA framework (2011) and climate change policy (2011).
Nepal has started formulation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to address medium and long-term adaptation needs with support from UK Aid, ACT, OPM and Practical Action. The designated Joint-Secretaries of 9 ministries will be directly engaged in coordinating 7 thematic and 2 cross-cutting working groups and overall coordination will be ensured by the Ministry of Population and Environment, the UNFCCC focal point. The approach of 'leaving no one behind' and maximising existing coordination mechanisms would engage about 200 institutions and/or individuals in NAP formulation process for about one and half to 2 years. It also ensures extensive consultations and optimal use of science in assessing climate vulnerabilities and risks at national level and in sectors. This will build 'country capacity' through 'learning-by-doing' approach and it would be an 'asset' to advance adaptation actions in Nepal to protect climate vulnerable communities and ecosystems or life-support systems for the long-run.
Nepal could share her efforts in helping most climate vulnerable people to adapt to climate change impacts during the twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22) at Marrakech, Morocco which will start on 7 November 2016. Opportunities exist to count Nepal's efforts on adaptation as several case studies have been prepared. Nepal may wish to showcase encouraging results of 'LAPAs' in target areas, climate resilience initiatives, efforts on integrating adaptation into planning process, and NAP formulation process. Nepal's sharing on NAP approach at 2016 NAP Expo at Bonn, Germany has enhanced confidence on NAP formulation process but poses challenge to make it 'practical and implementable'.
LDCs repeatedly remember the Marrakech as LDC work programme and NAPA preparation guideline were adopted, and LDC Expert Group and LDC Fund were established from decision of the COP 7 in 2001. The Marrakech Accord 2001 provided ample opportunities to LDCs to initiate and advance adaptation actions through NAPA. After 15 years, LDCs could showcase what they achieved on adaptation. Nepal has number of new initiatives on adaptation to showcase at Marrakech through a side-event or exhibition or other means. Let us hope that COP 22 at Marrakech would be 'rewarding' to Nepal's initiatives on climate change adaptation.